18 books heart led women should read to feel empowered

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Do you sometimes have a nagging feeling that although everything seems just fine in your life from the outside there’s something missing but you can’t put your finger on it? There’s an exciting breed of new books that talks directly to that nag.

We went on to explore the books that do this the best. We didn’t want to bring you the ones that tell you just to love yourself, nor the ones that tell you to be brave and just do it, so we found books written by women (and some written by men) who have experienced a massive shift. A shift from conforming to the system and what we were brought up to think life is all about to following their own hearts. A shift from doubting their dreams to trusting their inner guidance. A shift from trying to be the perfect martyr mother who let herself die in the process of bringing up her children to be becoming a role model on how to be alive.

Life is not a fight, life is raw. And we can all live it to the fullest. These books are eye openers for heart led women who want to feel empowered. Are you ready to find your drive and start living a bigger life?

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Glennon takes you on her journey of un-caging herself, divorcing a perfectly good husband and what it means to let go of all expectations and feel fully alive. Beautifully written, this is a must read for every heart led woman who wants to become more of who she really is.

“I’m here to keep becoming truer, more beautiful versions of myself again and again forever, To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution. Weather I like it or not, pain is the fuel of revolution. Everything I need to become the woman I’m meant to be next is inside my feelings of now. Life is alchemy, and emotions are the fire that turns me to gold. I will continue to become only if I resist extinguishing myself a million times a day. If I can sit in the fire of my one feelings, I will keep becoming.”

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Rachel’s story is an inspiration for anyone who is on the cusp of following her heart. After reading this book you will stop doubting your dreams and start taking action. She tells you lovingly, but firmly, it’s time to get on with living your wild and precious life.

“Nobody – not a voice of authority, not your mama, not the foremost exert in your arena- gets to tell you how big your dreams can be. They can talk all they want…. but you get to decide if you’re willing to listen.”

Lean Out by Marissa Orr

Marissa reveals how the corporate system was built by men, for men, and how ‘leaning in’ is not really an option for women if you are to show up authentically. She tears into the good girl syndrome and how we have been mislead to please instead of think for ourselves. Food for thought for anyone who is feeling discontent in their careers right now and wants to feel empowered.

“The corporate world is a game, and it is mostly a win-lose proposition. If women prefer win-win scenarios, wouldn’t it make sense for companies to build rewards for collaboration and design projects that depend on cooperative effort?”

The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work by Michelle P. King 

The Fix is another book tackling women’s inequalities in the workplace. Like Lean Out, it recognises that women don’t need fixing, companies do. Michelle does an admirable job in helping you see what is going on inside the dominantly masculine system and why it’s not a great platform for bringing out the best in women. 

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

We all know this intuitively – women suffer from a lack of confidence much more than men – and The Confidence Code has data to back this up. Feeling like an impostor stems from many factors including upbringing, society and biology. The book dives into the consequences for their lack of confidence and explains the somewhat dire consequences when women do behave assertively. As a result, Kay and Shipman have found the link between action and confidence, and how inaction holds women back and prevents them from building confidence (and the life and career they want). 

The Moment of Lift – How Empowering Women Changes The World by Melinda Gates

Another book to widen your perspectives, Melinda shares the stories of the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world and the lessons she’s learned from them. Melinda’s unforgettable narrative is backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention – from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In the off chance you haven’t yet read this amazing book, it’s a must read for anyone who desires a life filled with meaning and accomplishment. In her memoir Michelle Obama invites you into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her. She describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. What we love about this book is that Michelle embraces some of DrivenWoman’s key values: complete honesty and growing as a person through vulnerability.

Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

This book is completely up our street! At DrivenWoman we believe that by taking small steps and constantly finding solutions and course correcting, any dream is attainable. The main thing – to get started. Read this book to become a creative force of your own life!

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

Best selling leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith wrote the best selling book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There which has helped us shift our thinking and change our actions. Women face specific and different roadblocks from men as they advance in the workplace. The very habits that helped women early in their careers (what got you here) can hinder them as they move up (won’t get you there). 

The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate by Fran Hauser

Fran Hauser deconstructs the negative perception of “niceness” that many women struggle with. If women are nice, they are seen as weak and ineffective, but if they are tough, they are labeled a bitch. Luckily we don’t have to sacrifice out values or hide our authentic personalities to be successful! 

The Most Powerful Woman in the Room Is You: Command an Audience and Sell Your Way to Success by Lydia Fenet

Lydia takes you on her twenty-year journey from intern to managing director and global head of strategic partnerships at Christie’s Auction House. Lydia shares the revolutionary sales approach she has crafted over the years that has not only shaped her career, but helped her raise more than half a billion dollars for nonprofits around the world.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—  an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski

Have you been chewed up by the system? Over work and not-enoughness are a deadly combination that stops many women from living their best life. This book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski

From the same author comes a wonderful book about women’s sexuality. Research shows that every woman has her own unique sexuality, like a fingerprint, and that women vary more than men in our anatomy, our sexual response mechanisms, and the way our bodies respond to the sexual world. So we never need to judge ourselves based on others’ experiences. The most important factor for women in creating a fulfilling sex life, is not what you do in bed or how you do it, but how you feel about it. Which means that stress, mood, trust, and body image are not peripheral factors in a woman’s sexual wellbeing; they are central to it. (Well we already knew this didn’t we sisters!)

Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women by Kate Manne

Kate explains how male entitlement can explain a wide array of phenomena, from mansplaining and the under-treatment of women’s pain. The book shows how privileged men’s sense of entitlement—to sex, yes, but more insidiously to admiration, care, bodily autonomy, knowledge, and power—is a pervasive social problem with often devastating consequences. Moreover, she implicates each of us in toxic masculinity: It’s not just a product of a few bad actors; it’s something we all perpetuate, conditioned as we are by the social and cultural mores of our time.

Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny by Kate Manne

From the same author comes an incredible book in uncovering everything you ever needed to know about misogyny and patriarchy. The information in this book is thoroughly research and well proven. Everyone who wants to know what is wrong with the world and why women still experience such disadvantage at home and in the workplace should read this book. It’s a bit of a heavy read for our liking, but if you feel confused and are searching for answers knowing about the dominantly masculine system helps you to understand why we feel so out of place.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Then something completely different. At DrivenWoman we believe you have to be a success before you can get success. This book teaches you exactly that! The way we live our lives, the way we conduct our daily habits, ultimately defines our destination. No matter what you are striving for, this is the book to build the foundation for your success!

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty

No book list by DrivenWoman would be complete without some zen and mindset improvement! We know how we women often keep ourselves too busy and that’s our biggest downfall. When there’s no time for soul, for our own peace of mind, we never truly hear our heart’s calling. Jay has some good news for you as he distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Have you read books that inspired you to start following your dreams?


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Thursday, November 26th, 2020

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